The early concept and importance of money were first felt in ancient Egypt and in the commencement of the flourishing Mesopotamia economy, which paved the way toward a very structured Mesopotamia economic system.
The origin of money in Mesopotamia dates back to 2500 BC, when it was first used by privileged people. Knowing the vital essence of its contributions to mankind, you are aware that nobody can challenge the role of Mesopotamia as the cradle of humanity since it first organized human settlement in the world.
Due to its growing population, the early people in Mesopotamian society gradually realized the inevitable importance of commerce. It began in simple bartering that resulted in massive trading, and it apparently became a global trading route.
First, you must understand that they only gave one product in exchange for another. Would you believe that it all started in the exchange of man’s basic needs? Bread, grains, clothes, oil, mattress, sheep, and home maintenance were among the major products and administrations included in the exchange of resources.
The early people acquired gold from Egyptian traders, and pearls and ivory were bartered with Indian merchants. Mesopotamia was an attractive location for traders to congregate because of the streams that ran through it, giving a very viable location for effective irrigation for crops as well as transportation.
The Birth of Ancient Mesopotamian Economy
Mesopotamia was originally a barren wasteland. Given the limited arable land, residents had to trade with other countries to obtain the resources they needed to survive. Grains, oils, and linens were traded from Babylonia to other regions in exchange for wood, alcohol, rare minerals, and gemstones, for instance.
Trade products were transported by riverboats. Interestingly, the steady flow of trade at that time sealed the emergence of a marketplace, which you could probably call the economic system of Mesopotamia. Trading was timely and undeniably challenging for the people, particularly in the ancient summer when trading occurred swiftly.
Money was not commonly utilized to pay for products traded during the period. Due to this productive way of acquiring their needs, a barter system was devised, in which items were swapped directly for other goods.
You know how comfortable it was for the people to acquire what they needed. Cash was normally in the form of little metal disks if it had to be utilized, which also made the flow of commerce more efficient. With the help of this progress, the economics of Mesopotamia was inevitably born in antiquity.
Trading with neighboring villages was another significant part of Mesopotamia’s economy. Assyrian merchants would enter ancient Mesopotamia on donkey caravans carrying tin and textiles. Daily produce of the agricultural revolution, such as grains and crops, as well as cooking oil, ceramics, ornaments, and textiles, was traded among Mesopotamians.
Later, when traders started experiencing a fluctuating supply and demand, they acquired enough money from Egyptian traders who begged for certain items. Demanding economic activities happened every day in the marketplace, which you could regard as a sign of a robust nation.
In the same way, you must not forget the lavish pearls and ivory from Indian traders who wanted some goods only found in the economy in Mesopotamia. Given this scenario, massive crowds of merchants flocked to Mesopotamia and considered it a great location for traders because of the streams that ran through it and served as a transport hub at that time.
The growing society started advancing into several classes of people as the inhabitants moved to towns while their respective governments were founded.
The king, who was later called pharaoh, and his family were at the pinnacle of society. Priests were also thought to be close to the top rulers of the land, and the rich, such as high-ranking administrators and scribes, comprised the rest of the upper class.
You should also not forget that the temples and palaces had a massive economic significance in ancient Mesopotamia. Artisans were likewise important people in the building of early civilization because they rendered their creative services to affluent and average people.
Fees and Tariffs Were Invented
Much has developed from the trading system that emerged in ancient Mesopotamia. The daily exchange of goods had enabled the people to invent ways to make their trading more convenient. Similar to any other commercial economy, they learned to impose charges and tariffs.
Interestingly, you should expect to pay fees to receive approval to cruise through one location or another unless you’re a businessman back then. To ensure that you have these permissions, checkpoints were established along rivers. You might also have to pay a docking fee. When entering a new territory, you could expect to pay a fee or tariff.
The ancient Mesopotamians not only traded within themselves, but they also had the opportunity to capture and sell their goods by sailing around the Middle East and the Mediterranean. They might even have made it all the way across Africa, according to some reports.
You can possibly assume they made it all the way around Africa because of the traces of African influence in the region at that time. East and North Africans, Egyptians, and Indians, as well as other Middle Eastern nations, such as Afghanistan, Iran, and the Arabian Peninsula, traded with the ancient Mesopotamians.
Goods Traded in the Past
Apart from wheat, Mesopotamia’s people had little to give. Cereals were exported, after all. These were excessively large for long-distance donkey travel. Materials that had previously been imported were once again exported, including copper, which was bought in Dilmun and sold again in the Mesopotamian market.
Tin was shipped to Anatolia, a significant center of the metal industry, where large forests provided ample fuel for furnaces. Dates, sesame oil, and craft items were also marketed. The wool business in Babylonia was thriving. Silver and gold were brought in from Anatolia.
You might wonder, but clay was an important commodity at that time because it was the basic material for pottery, monumental buildings, and even the creation of tablets. Ivory was a precious commodity, together with textiles and metals.
Barley was commonly used as a kind of payment for workers. You have probably heard about the strict rules implemented across the nation. To keep the security and integrity of the market, maximum prices and minimum wages were set by order in the Code of Hammurabi, as well as the terms of apprenticeships.
You should be reminded that Mesopotamia civilization had a limited natural resource base. The Mesopotamian people were fortunate in that they learned to make the most of what they had and improved it. As a result, profitable trading and organization were established.
Originally, Mesopotamia’s economy was built on agriculture, in which the most effective way of surviving was to plant a few crops and domesticate a few farm animals. Craftsmanship and carpentry became a major sector in subsequent years. Mesopotamia’s trade and economy were among the most successful in the world, if not the first.
Furthermore, the Mesopotamian people depended heavily on agriculture to generate the goods and products they needed to survive and to trade for items they couldn’t manufacture. Flaxseed was one of the local people’s staple foods, and it was grown once a year. Nets, linen, linseed oil, meal, and several medications were made from flax.
The date palm was another significant item. It provided fibers, fodder, timber, and a nutrient-dense diet. Date palms also aided trade and helped Mesopotamia become a wealthy and formidable global trade leader.
The olive tree is a third major good. Medicines, fragrance bases, light fuel, and, most importantly, cooking oils were all made from it. Leeks, lentils, green beans, grains, barley, ingredients, basil, beverages, and fruits, such as figs, were among the other products available.
Mesopotamia’s Business Partners
The people living in the Fertile Crescent or the region with a crescent shape in the Middle East used five token types to depict varying rates of the products they traded at that time. This helped them create a more efficient trading system. Their emerging business partners included Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. You should also count the ever-loyal traders from Cyprus.
Workers, farmers, government authorities, and dealers were all important to the economy. In particular, farmers and laborers played a crucial role in the early civilization, and you can’t undermine their contributions.
They were essential to the growth of the economy because there would have been no goods to trade if they didn’t exist. Without trading, a slew of issues could have developed, such as the dearth of essential goods needed to survive or of labor specialization, because everyone required every item or service available.
The Sumerians spearheaded the use of writing sometime in 3500 BC. It started off as symbols and drawings, but as time passed, it became more abstract. This method made it difficult to comprehend anything other than real-life objects.
Not to mention activities. Mesopotamia’s vast society aided the development of cuneiform writing, which is a more sophisticated type of written communication. A clay stylus was used by the Sumerians to draw on a clay tablet.
As everyone acknowledged, you can’t deny that writing was a significant stride forward in ancient civilization because it enabled ideas to be communicated to far-flung locations without relying on the memory of a messenger. Writing, similar to other innovations, came about as a result of a need. Cuneiform was later utilized throughout the Near-East for a long time, precisely around 5,500 years ago.
New technologies, animals, harvests, and communication contributed to their civilization. Mesopotamia was an exceptionally diligent community that had managed to stay alive for so many years.
The emergence of the Mesopotamian economy and trade encouraged the development of a stronger civilization. Such development was attributed to the unfailing support of farmers, laborers, traders, and artisans, who served as the backbone of the economy. They were the unsung heroes behind the growth of the ancient Mesopotamian market.
Largely based on bartering, you could see the rapid exchange of goods and services, which propelled the development at that time. As a result, the influx of traders from other countries made business more lucrative in Mesopotamia.
With the rapid economic growth of the nation, everyone could beamingly say that Mesopotamia arose as a haven for traders and consumers to build an era of great opportunity.